Robert Rothenberg > Geo-Google-PolylineEncoder-0.06 > Geo::Google::PolylineEncoder



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Geo::Google::PolylineEncoder - encode lat/lons to Google Maps Polylines


  use Geo::Google::PolylineEncoder;

  my $points = [
                # can also take points as [lat, lon]
                { lat => 38.5, lon => -120.2 },
                { lat => 40.7, lon => -120.95 },
                { lat => 43.252, lon => -126.453 },
  my $encoder = Geo::Google::PolylineEncoder->new;
  my $eline   = $encoder->encode( $points );
  print $eline->{num_levels};  # 18
  print $eline->{zoom_factor}; # 2
  print $eline->{points};      # _p~iF~ps|U_ulLnnqC_mqNvxq`@
  print $eline->{levels};      # POP

  # in Javascript, assuming eline was encoded as JSON:
  # ... load GMap2 ...
  var opts = {
    points: eline.points,
    levels: eline.levels,
    numLevels: eline.num_levels,
    zoomFactor: eline.zoom_factor,
  var line = GPolyline.fromEncoded( opts );


This module encodes a list of lat/lon points representing a polyline into a format for use with Google Maps. This format is described here:

The module is a port of Mark McClure's PolylineEncoder.js with some tweaks. The original can be found here:


new( [%args] )

Create a new encoder. Arguments are optional and correspond to the accessor with the same name: "num_levels", "zoom_factor", "visible_threshold", "force_endpoints", etc...

Note: there's nothing stopping you from setting these properties each time you "encode" a polyline.


How many different levels of magnification the polyline has. Default: 18.


The change in magnification between those levels (see "num_levels"). Default: 2.


Indicates the length of a barely visible object at the highest zoom level. Default: 0.00001. err.. units.


Indicates whether or not the endpoints should be visible at all zoom levels. force_endpoints is. Probably should stay true regardless. Default: 1=true.


Indicates whether or not the encoded points should have escape characters escaped, eg:

  $points =~ s/\\/\\\\/g;

This is useful if you'll be evalling the resulting strings, or copying them into a static document.

Warning: don't turn this on if you'll be passing the encoded points straight on to your application, or you'll get unexpected results (ie: lines that start out right, but end up horribly wrong). It may even crash your browser.

Default: 0=false.


Specifies the order in which coordinates passed as arrayrefs to "encode" should be interpreted:

  # false: lat, lon
     [ 38.5, -120.2 ],
     [ 40.7, -120.95 ],

  # true: lon, lat
     [ -120.2, 38.5 ],
     [ -120.95, 40.7 ],

Default: 0 = lat,lon

(Yes, the default feels wrong to the mathematician in me, but that's how Google Maps do it, so for sake of consistency...)


encode( \@points );

Encode the points into a string for use with Google Maps GPolyline.fromEncoded using a variant of the Douglas-Peucker algorithm to set levels, and the Polyline encoding algorithm defined by Google.

Expects a reference to a @points array:

   { lat => 38.5, lon => -120.2 },
   { lat => 40.7, lon => -120.95 },
   { lat => 43.252, lon => -126.453 },

The individual points can also be given as arrayrefs:

   [ 38.5, -120.2 ],
   [ 40.7, -120.95 ],
   [ 43.252, -126.453 ],

Note: I tried to avoid this initially, because there's no standard for which should come first: lats or lons. But I agree, it's more convenient in some cases so I've given you enough rope to hang yourself... Of course you can easily unhang yourself: the order for arrayrefs defaults to lat, lon, but you can change that by setting "lons_first".

Returns a hashref containing:

   points => 'encoded points string',
   levels => 'encoded levels string',
   num_levels => int($num_levels),
   zoom_factor => int($zoom_factor),

You can then use the JSON modules (or XML, or whatever) to pass the encoded values to your Javascript application for use there.

decode_points( $encoded_polyline );

Given an encoded polyline, returns the points:

   { lat => 38.5, lon => -120.2 },
   { lat => 40.7, lon => -120.95 },
   { lat => 43.252, lon => -126.453 },

Note that these will likely be slightly different from the original points due to rounding errors during both "encode" & decoding.

decode_levels( $encoded_levels );

Given encoded levels, returns the levels:

  [ 17, 16, 17 ]


Do your lines all go through the north pole? Maybe you have your lons & lats mixed up... If so and you're using point arrays, you can set "lons_first".

Do your points not show up at particular zoom levels? That's not a bug, it's a feature! Try playing with "visible_threshold".

Do your encoded lines cause your browser to crash? Sounds like a bug - file it!



More optimization: encoding big files is *slow*. Maybe XS implementation if there's enough demand for it?


Robert Rothenberg <>

Steve Purkis <>

Ported from Mark McClure's PolylineEncoder.js which can be found here:

Some encoding ideas borrowed from Geo::Google.

Bringing distance calcs in-line was Joel Rosenberg's idea:


Copyright (c) 2008-2010 Steve Purkis. Released under the same terms as Perl itself.

SEE ALSO ^, (JavaScript implementation), (similar implementation in perl), Geo::Google, JSON::Any

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